Coronavirus Updates

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) TIMELINE

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Baker County has dropped for the fourth straight week, down nearly 74% from the weekly record high in mid-September. Read more

An 81-year-old Baker County woman who died on Oct. 11 at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center is the county's 28th COVID-19-related death, the Oregon Health Authority reported today, Oct. 13. Read more

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Baker County has dropped for the third straight week, and reached the lowest weekly total since late July. Read more

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The rate of new COVID-19 cases in Baker County during the first week of October was down by about half compared with the record-setting pace in September. Read more

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The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported on Friday afternoon, Oct. 8, that two Baker County residents had died in the past week after testing positive for COVID-19. Read more

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The number of new COVID-19 cases in Baker County dropped for the second straight week. Read more

Baker County’s worst month in terms of COVID-19 cases and deaths concluded Thursday, Sept. 30 with a report that a 63-year-old Baker County man had died on Sept. 24 at the VA Medical Center in Boise, after testing positive on Sept. 3. Read more

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The Oregon Health Authority reported today, Sept. 30, that a 63-year-old Baker County man died on Sept. 24, 2021, at the VA Medical Center in Boise, after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 3. The presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed, according to OHA. Read more

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Oregon health officials said Tuesday, Sept. 28 that the summer surge in COVID-19 cases appears to have peaked in the state, and Baker County’s numbers show a similar trend. Read more

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Cleo Claire Rae Shepherd dreamed about learning to care for children whose lives are threatened by cancer, but her own life didn’t last long enough for her to get the chance. Read more

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Baker County's fourth COVID-19-related death reported this week, and the fifth during September, is also the youngest resident thus far, a 20-year-old woman who tested positive on Sept. 11 and died on Sept. 20 at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise. Presence of underlying conditions is b… Read more

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Three Baker County residents died in a seven-day period earlier this month after testing positive for COVID-19. Read more

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September has surpassed August as the month with the most COVID-19 cases in Baker County. Read more

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LA GRANDE — National Guard members have arrived at many Eastern Oregon hospitals as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its apex in recent cases caused by the virulent delta variant. Read more

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Baker County matched its daily record of 37 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Sept. 14 as September continues at a pace that would top August’s monthly record of 300 cases. Read more

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By JAYSON JACOBY Read more

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By JAYSON JACOBY Read more

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A total of 11 students and staff in the Baker School District tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of classes, but school officials said most of those people stayed home throughout the week due to their symptoms. Read more

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By SAMANTHA O’CONNER Read more

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The Oregon Health Authority reported Friday, Aug. 20 that a Baker County resident had died after testing positive for COVID-19. Read more

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Baker County had more COVID-19 cases during the first half of August than in all but two whole months since the pandemic started. Read more

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Though running behind by about four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 U.S. Census was officially released Thursday, Aug. 12, showing that not only the state of Oregon, but most of its counties, are continuing to thrive, according to Charles Rynerson with the Population Research C… Read more

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With the latest spike in COVID-19 cases, the Baker County Health Department is working with more people who are sick now than at any other time during the pandemic. Read more

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SALEM — The COVID-19 delta variant is spreading so fast that it will hit most of the state's unvaccinated population before the six weeks needed to be fully immunized if they were inoculated now. Read more

For more than a year, Chuck Brown and his sister, Hope Brown, worried about COVID-19 breaching the Baker City home where their mother, Mary Hurtado, lived with four relatives. Read more

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After a comparatively tranquil period that started in May and continued through the middle of July, Baker County is in the midst of its biggest COVID-19 surge since the pandemic started. Read more

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said today that all students, staff and visitors in K-12 schools will have to wear face masks indoors when classes start this fall. Read more

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The surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the more contagious delta variant has spread to Baker County, which reported 19 new cases on Tuesday, July 27, the second-highest one-day total during the pandemic. Read more

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Health Department Director Nancy Staten is sounding the alarm. “We’re seeing an increase in cases, and we need to get a handle on it or we’re going to be in bad shape as a county. We know that when cases spike, many people are exposed to people who are contagious, and it takes a long time fo… Read more

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A 59-year-old Baker County man died on July 13, six days after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported on Thursday, July 15. Read more

State restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have ended, and Baker County’s rate of new cases has remained well below a spring peak during April, but Nancy Staten is concerned that the county’s relatively low vaccination rate makes the county vulnerable to future outbreaks. Read more

After more than a year of closures, occupancy limits and other restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baker City restaurant owners are excited about the end of those limits. Read more

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Baker County is in the midst of its biggest surge in COVID-19 cases in two months, and most of the recent infections are in residents 40 or older. Read more

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Baker County reported its highest one-day total of new COVID-19 cases in two months on Monday, June 21, with 12 cases. Read more

Community Connection of Baker City is making preparations to reopen the Senior Center and welcome people back for in-person lunches and other events that have been canceled for more than a year due to the pandemic. Read more

Baker County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has risen during the first two weeks of June, but infections remain well below the average for the previous six months. Read more

Baker County’s first COVID-19 testing clinic since early January brought 18 people to a parking lot across from the Baker County Health Department on Thursday, June 3. Read more

Baker County had another relatively quiet weekend on the COVID-19 front, with one new case on Saturday and no cases on Friday or Sunday. Read more

Jason Yencopal concedes that it seems a bit unusual for Baker County officials to urge residents who feel fine to be tested for COVID-19. Read more

Visitors to the Baker County Library District’s locations will have to wait a bit longer to browse for books without wearing a face mask, regardless of their vaccination status. Read more

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Shane Cunningham pondered the COVID-19 vaccines long before he was eligible to get one. Read more

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With its COVID-19 case rate dropping by more than half during May, Baker County returned to the lowest of the state’s risk levels today, May 27. Read more

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With its COVID-19 case rate dropping to the lowest level in more than six months, Baker County appears to be on pace to return to the state’s lowest risk level, which would double indoor dining capacity at restaurants at the start of Memorial Day weekend. Read more

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Baker County’s rate of COVID-19 cases has dropped by more than half during May compared with April. Read more

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The Baker School District will no longer require students to wear face masks for outdoor activities, including PE classes, recesses and sports. Read more

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A 74-year-old man from Baker County who died May 15 at St. Luke's Medical Center in the Boise is the 15th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority reported today, May 20. Read more

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Although the rate of new COVID-19 cases in Baker County has dropped to its lowest level in more than three months, the county will remain at the high risk level at least through May 27, Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said Wednesday, May 19. Read more

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Davey Peterson said he and his wife, Alyssa, were initially excited about the potential benefits to their Baker City business when federal and state officials announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated people needn’t wear masks in most settings. Read more

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Although both federal and state officials have said fully vaccinated people needn’t wear masks or socially distance in most situations, Oregon schools will continue to require students, staff and visitors to follow those guidelines for the few remaining weeks in the school year. Read more

Sarah Plummer, a 17-year-old junior at Baker High School, had no qualms about getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more

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Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday, May 11 that counties can qualify to ease COVID-19 restrictions on businesses starting next week if they vaccinate enough residents, but Baker County is far short of the threshold. Read more

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Gov Kate Brown laid out some basic math on Tuesday for Oregon residents hoping for as near a “normal” as possible. Vaccination = vacation. Read more

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Restaurants and bars in Baker County can resume limited indoor dining on Friday, May 7, as the county drops from extreme to high risk level. Read more

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A large majority of COVID-19 cases in Baker County over the past two weeks or so were people younger than 40, a significant increase from the rate of cases in that age range earlier this spring.

For the period April 15-30, almost 71% of the county’s 78 new cases were people 39 or younger, according to the Baker County Health Department.

For the period March 23 through April 2, that age group accounted for just 28% of the county’s cases.

Starting in early April the number of cases in county residents younger than 40 began to rise.

From April 3-21, that group had 55% of the new cases.

Meanwhile the number of cases among people 70 and older — the group most likely to become severely ill or to die — has plummeted.

Of Oregon’s 2,508 deaths attributed to COVID-19 during the pandemic, almost 76% were 70 or older. In Baker County, 13 of the 14 people who died after testing positive for the virus were 70 or older (the one exception is a 59-year-old man who died on Feb. 2).

The 70-and-older age group accounted for 17.5% of Baker County’s new cases from March 23 to April 2. The group’s share dropped to 9.9% from April 3-21, and to just under 2% from April 15-30.

During the latter period there were no cases in the county among residents 80 and older, said Holly Kerns, a public information officer for the county.

Total cases includes people who tested positive for COVID-19 as well as presumptive cases — people who had symptoms consistent with the virus and were in close contact with someone who tested positive but haven’t tested positive themselves. The county does not list positive tests and presumptive cases separately.

The 70-plus age group also has the highest vaccination rate in Baker County, with about 65% of county residents in that group fully or partially vaccinated, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Although vaccination rates for county residents younger than 40 aren’t available, the total number of residents in that age group who are partially or fully vaccinated is 777. That’s 13.7% of the total people vaccinated in the county.

Younger residents, with the exception of health care workers, first responders, teachers and other school employees and some other groups, weren’t eligible to be vaccinated for most of the winter.

Everyone 16 and older is now eligible.

The largest increase in new cases in Baker County since April 15 was among people in their 20s. That group, which accounted for 4.4% of cases from April 3-21, jumped to 21.6% from April 15-30.

That was the second-highest percentage of any group during the period, behind only people in their 30s, who totaled 25.5% of the county’s cases. Read more

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With Baker County’s weekly total of COVID-19 cases dropping to its lowest level in more than a month, County Commissioner Mark Bennett said he hopes the county will drop from extreme risk level starting this Friday, May 7. Read more

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The Baker County Health Department has hundreds more doses of COVID-19 vaccine than it has residents interested in being inoculated. Read more

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Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett and the county’s two state legislators have signed separate letters criticizing Gov. Kate Brown’s decision to ban indoor dining in Baker County and 14 other counties starting Friday, April 30 due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Read more

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Baker County will move to the extreme risk level under state COVID-19 guidelines on Friday, April 30, and stay there for at least one week. Read more

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Baker County has a “slim” chance to avoid moving into the extreme risk level this Friday, April 30, but County Commissioner Mark Bennett doesn’t yet know how small that opportunity will be. Read more

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A group of Baker County employees and volunteers were prepared to help more than 1,100 people get their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, April 24 at the Fairgrounds. Read more

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A sharp increase in COVID-19 cases could push at least 12 Oregon counties, including Baker, into the extreme risk level April 30, requiring the most severe restrictions the state can impose on businesses and activities, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday, April 23. Read more

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Almost half of Baker County’s COVID-19 cases during the past month, when the case rate more than tripled, are people younger than 50, the age range with much lower vaccination rates compared with older residents. Read more

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After a two-week reprieve, Baker County’s recent increase in COVID-19 cases will result in more severe restrictions on some businesses and events starting Friday, April 23. Read more

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Baker County's risk level under Oregon's COVID-19 guidelines will risk from the lowest risk level to high risk starting Friday, April 23, and remain there through at least May 6, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday afternoon. Read more

A 71-year-old Baker County woman who died on Wednesday, April 14 at a Boise hospital is the 14th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported. Read more

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Students in the North Powder School District will take classes online through April 22 because as many as 30 students were potentially exposed to COVID-19. Read more

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A 71-year-old Baker County woman who died on Wednesday, April 14 at a Boise hospital is the 14th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority reported today. Read more

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Baker County’s COVID-19 surge continued on Tuesday, April 13 with 14 new cases, the highest one-day total since late December, and the third-most in any day during the pandemic. Read more

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The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has asked all of the state’s vaccine providers to immediately stop administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, per the announcement from the U.S. CDC and FDA this morning. This is out of an abundance of caution as they review six cases of a rare and sever… Read more

A student at the Baker School District’s Baker Early Learning Center, which has preschool and kindergarten classrooms, has tested positive for COVID-19, the school district announced Sunday, April 11. Read more

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The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has fixed an error in its system for reporting county-level COVID-19 vaccination numbers, and the correction had a big effect on Baker County, whose inflated numbers prompted the agency to look at the situation in late March. Read more

One of Baker County’s major summer events — three of them, actually — are slated to return in 2021 after being casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Read more

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A 75-year-old Baker City man who died on April 3 is the 13th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported Friday, April 9.The man, who had underlying medical conditions, tested positive on March 24. He died at his home, according to the OHA. Read more

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A fourth employee at Brooklyn Primary School has tested positive for COVID-19, the Baker School District reported this morning. Read more

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The Baker School District on Wednesday, April 7 confirmed what it had had been planning, and expected to happen — students in grades 7 through 12 will return to full in-person classes on Monday, April 12. Read more

One employee and two substitute teachers at Brooklyn Primary School tested positive for COVID-19, and all three contracted the virus outside of school, the Baker School District announced on Friday, April 2. Read more

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A recent change to Oregon’s COVID-19 risk level system should allow Baker County to remain at the lowest level, with the least severe restrictions, through most of April even though the county’s case rate has nearly tripled in the past two weeks. Read more

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The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) estimates that its website had recently exaggerated by about 50% the number of Baker County residents who have been partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more

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The Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally, one of Baker City’s biggest annual events, will be a two-time casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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Chelsea Hurliman is eager for Baker High School students to return to a four-day week and remain in their classrooms all day except when they are called away for extracurricular activities. Read more

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The COVID-19 pandemic has hampered all sorts of events, but American Red Cross blood drives in Baker City aren’t among them. Read more

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About 450 Baker County residents had their second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Friday during the Baker County Health Department’s third major clinic at Baker High School. Read more

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Baker County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has risen over the past week or so to the highest level in more than two months. Read more

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The air inside the Baker County Library District’s main branch in Baker City has never been cleaner, Ed Adamson says, his pride palpable even though most of the particles that are no longer wafting about were never visible to the naked eye. Read more

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For the second straight year, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the cancellation of the Easter egg hunt in Geiser-Pollman Park. Read more

The Baker City Council has approved a resolution blaming Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 mandates for creating an “economic, mental health, and criminal activity crisis” in the city. Read more

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Baker County is doing well, compared with Oregon’s 35 other counties, in vaccinating its residents against COVID-19. Read more

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Baker School District students in Grades 7-12 will be returning to classes four days a week beginning April 12 if all goes as planned in the next few weeks. Read more

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Baker County will return to the lowest risk level for COVID-19 spread on Friday, March 26, after being at the moderate risk level since March 12. Read more

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The Baker City Council on Tuesday evening, March 23 will consider approving a resolution declaring an “economic, mental health and criminal activity crisis” resulting from Oregon COVID-19 mandates that the resolution deems “arbitrary, ineffective, and draconian.” Read more

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Baker County will receive $3.13 million, and Baker City $2 million, from the federal COVID-19 aid bill that President Joe Biden signed last week. Read more

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The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported today that an 81-year-old man in Baker County died on March 11, three days after testing positive for COVID-19. Read more

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Baker County had the biggest day of its COVID-19 vaccination effort on Friday, March 12. Read more

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An 85-year-old Baker County man who died on March 6 at his home was the 11th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported on Thursday, March 11. Read more

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Nick Cripe found himself with some extra time between jobs as a firefighter and paramedic. Read more